A planning application from Manchester City for a fan experience and year round entertainment and leisure destination at the Etihad Stadium, featuring plans to expand the ground as well as include a covered fan zone and work space, has been approved by the local council. Submitting the plans this April and following a consultation in February and March, Manchester City Council’s planning committee gave final go-ahead at a meeting this week after a number of conditions had to be approved.
Approved plans include several connected all-weather facilities, fully integrated into the stadium. These facilities will be centred around an expanded North Stand with one larger, single upper tier above the existing lower tier, increasing the stadium capacity to over 60,000. Above the upper tier, a sky bar with views overlooking the pitch has been introduced, together with a stadium roof walk experience.
In addition, there are plans for a covered City Square fan zone, with a capacity of 3,000 and a wide variety of food and drink outlets, new club shop, museum and 400-bed hotel, have all been proposed. Modest workspace has also been included for use by start-up and medium-sized organisations looking to co-locate and collaborate with the Club, City Football Group and Etihad Campus partners.
Viewed from Joe Mercer Way, the hotel and food and drink outlets are situated on the left flank of the development with all other facilities contained within the right flank. LED screens which are approximately four stories in height will also feature at the end of each flank.
The plans have been approved under a number of conditions including the development beginning no later than the expiration of three years after permission and carried out in accordance with the drawings and documents submitted. Other conditions include no contractor parking at the Etihad Campus immediately prior to, during or after a major event/match at the Etihad Stadium and a crowd modelling strategy for during both construction and when the development becomes operational.
Since 2008, City Football Group has overseen over £700m of investment into the Etihad Campus and East Manchester, delivering a range of facilities including City Football Academy, the Connell Co-op College, the Manchester Institute of Health & Performance and Co-op Live, the UK’s biggest and most sustainable arena, which opens in December 2023.
In line with previous Club development proposals, the initiative would ensure that training, recruitment and employment opportunities are prioritised for local people. Opportunities would extend beyond the period of development works, with plans being explored for a long-term ‘skills academy’ programme designed to provide local people of all ages with qualifications to secure permanent jobs at the Etihad Campus.
Following the approval of the plans from Manchester City, the Etihad Stadium construction programme will take place over a three-year period, with works staged to minimise disruption during the football season. It is anticipated that main construction works will commence on-site in November 2023 which will mean the North Stand itself will be complete and open during the 2025/26 football season. The hotel, workspace and public realm works, including City Square, would subsequently complete by late 2026.